By Barry Parker, Rector (Senior Pastor)
Posted on October 20, 2016
At St. Paul’s last Sunday, we celebrated our 174th Vestry or Annual General Meeting. I know that I am tiresome in repeating this fact. However, in our transient, disposable and quite frankly, lonely world—to know that a faith community has pushed on together for all of these consecutive years is an incredible statement of faith!
St. Paul’s has experienced a lot of churn over the years—both in the Church and certainly in the world. Over these 17 decades of existence, we could name historic events that have significantly affected the members of this congregation. Yet, somehow this Church prevails.
It begs the question. How does a seemingly monolithic, historic church like St. Paul’s not simply survive but in fact move forward with a sense of purpose and optimism?
As I survey our past, our present and pray into God’s future—there is, I believe, a seemingly simple yet quite profound reason. St. Paul’s Bloor Street is a dynamic church because we have a commitment to unity in Gospel Ministry. This means that Jesus Christ is at the very heart of what we are about. Yes, there is wonderful worship, vital caring through outreach and pastoral ministries, Christian introduction and formation experiences abound. But through it all this congregation believes that Jesus Christ Himself is the centre.
This Gospel unity is so much more than just getting along. It is being united in Christ. As Anglican Christians we will not always agree with each other but we will be aligned in seeking the best for the other, in other words biblical, Christ-like love for each other and for this broken world.
The churn I mentioned earlier affects all of us. Change can be unsettling and challenging. I thank you for holding steadfast to our ministry at St. Paul’s during these times. True to form, I have two new staffing changes to announce.
First, Sean Davidson has been our Pastor of Discipleship for over three years. In that time Sean has led both our discipleship learning opportunities and small group ministries. He is also a Postulant for Ordination for the Diocese of Toronto. What that means is that he is involved in the two-year preparatory program mandated by the Diocese before his Ordination as a Deacon next May and the beginning of the next phase of ministry—called a Curacy. To make a very long story short, Sean has an opportunity to get a positive jump on that process so he will be formally leaving the Ministry Team here at St. Paul’s and beginning a new ministry role as the Pastoral Associate at the Church of the Resurrection (“The Rez”) on November 1st. Sean will still participate here in coordinating the Alpha experience and Pilgrim program until next April.
I am also happy to announce that Ian Koiter has started as our new Youth & Young Adult Pastor. You might recognize Ian as he has been actively involved in both Youth Ministry and music leadership at the Bridge.
Finally, I thank God for the people of St. Paul’s Bloor Street. For the incredible leaders we have in our Trustees who practise oversight of all of our ministries, our Ministry Team who minister in such diverse and challenging times with steadfast faithfulness, our Support Ministries who quietly ensure our facilities and ministries are supported in countless ways, our many members who serve in a huge number of capacities, and you—all the people of God who call St. Paul’s home—I thank you for your faithfulness and willingness to follow Jesus together.
The last word to St. Paul: Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or imagine. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)